This year's scheduled attendees include former Redbirds Jason Motte, Matt Adams, Sam Freeman, and Brad Thompson. Former Memphis Chick and National League All-Star Ryan Franklin and Cardinals' 2012 first round pick Michael Wacha will also join the Caravan along with broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. Players will discuss the past and upcoming season during a question and answer session with youth autograph opportunities to follow.
The Cardinals will be implementing a new Autograph Ticket system this year. The first 400 kids (15 and under) through the door on the day of the event will receive a free Autograph Ticket which guarantees one autograph from each current and former player. Autographs will only be available for kids 15 and under.
The Cardinals Caravan program will offer first-come, first-served seating with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and the event will feature complimentary food and soft drinks. The Baseball Backstop Emporium will be open from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Motte enjoyed his first full season as St. Louis Cardinals closer, co-leading the National League with 42 saves in 2012. The Memphis resident spent two stints with the Redbirds during his minor league career, first in 2004 as a catcher. After transitioning to a pitching role, the Baseball America Triple-A All-Star struck out 110 batters in 66.2 innings while leading the minors with a Redbirds record 63 appearances in 2008. He also made a two-game rehab assignment in 2010.
Adams enters the 2013 season ranked as the Cardinals' #7 prospect by Baseball America. The 24-year-old batted .329 and belted a team-leading 18 home runs in 67 games at first base for the Redbirds last season while also making his Major League debut for the Cardinals. The Cardinals' 2011 Minor League Player of the Year batted .244 with a pair of homers and 13 RBIs for St. Louis while filling in for the injured Lance Berkman.
Freeman continued a successful comeback from Tommy John surgery in 2012, logging a 1.89 ERA between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis before making his Major League debut for the Cardinals in June. The southpaw concluded his breakthrough season by pitching in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League and being named to the Rising Stars Game.
Franklin spent the final five seasons of his 12-year career with St. Louis and was named to the 2006 National League All-Star squad. Franklin pitched for the Double-A Memphis Chicks in 1997 and currently serves as a special assistant to the GM in the Cardinals baseball operations department.
Thompson, who pitched parts of six seasons with the Redbirds from 2004-09, primarily worked out of the St. Louis bullpen for five seasons and was a member of the 2006 World Series Champion Cardinals.
Wacha enters the 2013 season ranked as the Cardinals' #6 prospect by Baseball America after being St. Louis' first round selection (19th overall) in the 2012 draft out of Texas A&M University. The 6-foot-6 right-hander posted a miniscule 0.86 ERA in 11 games across three levels in his first professional season and collected a Texas League Championship ring with the Springfield Cardinals.
For more information, please call the Redbirds front office at (901) 721-0299 or click here. Player attendees are subject to change.
About Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation: The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation is the first and only not-for-profit charitable organization in the United States to own and operate a professional baseball franchise, the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. AutoZone Park - the finest ballpark ever built in the United States below the Major League level - is the home of the Redbirds and has served as the cornerstone of development in downtown Memphis. Incorporating the Memphis Redbirds as not-for-profit entity allows the community to own the team and facility. For the first time in history, Mid-South residents, corporate leaders and baseball fans are able to give back to the community - and at the same time enjoy first class entertainment - by supporting Memphis Redbirds Baseball.
About Global Spectrum: Global Spectrum (global-spectrum.com) manages the Memphis Redbirds, as well as more than 100 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, PA, Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world's largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.